You know that you have arrived when you start getting press releases. Especially when they are actually things that you care about…
DRINKERS are being encouraged to cut their booze consumption during Alcohol-Free Week.
The week will be launched Wednesday 21 February 2007 to coincide with the season of Lent when, traditionally, observers abstain from some indulgence such as drinking alcohol.
During Alcohol-Free Week people are being encouraged to give up alcohol for one day, a weekend or for a full week.
The event is sponsored by The Alcohol-Free Shop and is supported by the NHS Drinking Responsibly Project, the national charity FAS Aware that highlights the dangers of alcohol in pregnancy, Manchester City Council, and Manchester Drug and Alcohol Strategy Team.
A new website to promote the campaign www.alcoholfreeweek.co.uk has been set up where visitors can find information about the health impact of excess alcohol consumption and enter a competition to win a supply of alcohol-free beer. The web site also has links to support groups for those worried about their own or someone else's drinking.
In its first year, Alcohol-Free Week has been adopted by Manchester City Council as part of its 100 Day Challenge to tackle anti-social behaviour. It is intended to make Alcohol-Free Week an annual event involving health organisations and local authorities across the UK.
John Risby, who launched The Alcohol-Free Shop in May 2006, said: “A lot of people make new year's resolutions to reduce their alcohol intake, lose weight and improve their fitness but after a few weeks, often their good intentions fail. Lent is a good time to give it another go.
“Alcohol-Free Week is intended to encourage people to become more conscious of their own drinking and the impact it may be having on their health and the well being of those close to them.
“Health experts say that even moderate drinkers should have one or two alcohol- free days a week. We're hoping that, during Alcohol-free Week, people will avoid alcohol on at least one day and that avoiding alcohol at least some of the time will become a lifestyle choice.”
Liz Burns from the NHS Drinking Responsibly project said, “We know that people want reliable information and environments that support responsible drinking.
“There is more to drinking responsibly than just soft drinks, so whether you own a pub or off-licence or you're in your own home, stock up on a range of quality alcohol-free drinks to help pace your drinks or for that alcohol free day.
“Unless our drinking habits change, liver disease may overtake coronary heart disease as the major cause of early death in the next decade”.
Councillor Pat Karney, who heads Manchester City Council's Social Strategy Committee, said: “Like a lot of people I have enjoyed drinking so it's not a question of moralising or being judgmental. It's good from time to time for everybody to check their alcohol intake to see if there are any problems. This week provides a great opportunity to do that.”